Federal hiring freeze leaves NH snow rangers without a full rescue crew
The Mount Washington Avalanche Center may be rolling without a full crew this season - whether they want to or not.
The avalanche center, which forecasts avalanche conditions in Tuckerman and Huntington Ravine and serves as the lead agency for rescues on Mount Washington from Dec. 1 to the end of May, has been working shorthanded since the start of the season. Two snow rangers left last year, including Chris Joosen, the longtime lead snow ranger, and the process to replace them taken months, according to the Conway Daily Sun.
The center recently hired two new employees, but are still short two snow rangers.
As part of this freeze, no vacant positions existing at noon on January 22, 2017, may be filled and no new positions may be created.
Normally there are four snow rangers. For the past month and a half, they have only had two snow rangers, with a team of fill-ins, all while the center underwent its first change in leadership in decades, the Conway Daily Sun reports.
The Forest Service is waiting for more information from the federal Office of Personnel Management and Office of Management and Budget in order to understand when or how they will fill the openings. In the meantime, they will continue pulling staff from other departments.